Nearly 22-million people use illegal drugs every day. What starts as marijuana ends in a rough heroine addiction. But there's one program in the Central Savannah River Area that's giving addicts a second chance.
Augusta's Judicial Circuit Drug Court graduation kicked off Thursday morning . Months of counseling and hundreds of drug tests later are giving nine successful people the chance to press the restart button. Criminal charges are now off of their records…and there's one family in particular who is ready to start over.
Tears were shed, and the serenity prayer was whispered as 9 recovering addicts graduated the Augusta Drug Court Program. A two-year program, which at times– had almost all nine members wanting to give up.
Ken Wilson Drug Court treatment provider says, “Our clients come daily for six months, and then they come three times a week for six months, and then they have to pass three urine drug screens per week.”Passing three random drug tests a week, was a stretch for recovering drug addict, Chris Kennedy.
Courtney Elledge reporting, “Chris admits the entire process was tough, but it was his family and five sons that helped him strive through.”
Recover drug addict, Chris Kennedy explains, “I've been incarcerated half of my life. I've been to prison three times, so to have this opportunity, and complete this program without giving up it feels amazing.”
Chris succeeded with the support of his wife and family. In fact, he says his other half, his wife, has worked nearly 60 hours a week at two jobs to support their 5 boys during his road to recovery. In fact, each month for the past 2 years , she has paid the required monthly one-hundred and fifty dollar fee to get her husband back on his feet.
Wife, Tracy Kennedy says, “I'm extremely proud of him, if you would've known him before, it's a totally different person.”
Chris, has his family, Richard Roundree with The Richmond County Sheriff's department , and many others commending his heartfelt success.
Tonya Jeffords Assistant District Attorney for Richmond County says, “He's one of the most honest people, and he wanted to be the man he could be for his family.”
Living one day at a time, and giving people a second chance, is the drug court's motto — and it's why program creator Judge Jim Blanchard believes Chris will continue succeed.
Richmond County Circuit Court Judge, Jim Blanchard says, “If incarceration would cure drug addiction, there would be no re-offenders. It's a deep illness and we have to deal with that.”
For more information click here http://www.augustaga.gov/index.aspx?NID=501 .